Different countries have different requirements and steps you must take in order to properly register a business. But don’t let that deter you from chasing your dreams and becoming your own boss! Here is how to register your business in Canada. 

Choose your business structure

First, you will need to choose the right structure for your business. The most common business structures in Canada are:

  • Sole proprietorship – A business owned by one individual.
  • Partnership – A business owned by two more more people.
  • Corporation – A business that is a separate legal entity from its owners.
  • Co-operative – A business that is owned by its members. 

Register your business within your province or territory

Once you identify which business structure is best suited to your company, you will need to register the business within the province or territories you plan to operate. Sole proprietorships and partnerships come with a simple registration process. Simply submit the required business registration documentation and pay any applicable fees. 

Corporations and co-operatives, however, require a few additional steps. Aside from the basic provincial and territorial registration and required fees, you will also need to apply for Articles of Incorporation from provincial, territorial, and federal governments. Typically, this application consists of a cover letter, the completed documents for incorporation, and a Nuans name search report that verifies your business name is available. 

Obtain a Business Number (BN)

Once you have successfully registered your business, you will need to obtain a Business Number (BN). This number will be unique to your company and should be used when dealing with the government, taxes, payroll, and more. Several Canadian provinces will automatically generate a BN for you upon completion of your business registration. If you do not automatically receive this number, you will need to register for one. 

Additional considerations

Now that your business is officially registered, there are a few additional things you will need to consider. 

Permits and Licenses to operate – Check for any permits and/or licenses you may need to operate in your specific industry or line of work.

Insurance – You will also need to ensure your business is properly insured to protect yourself against natural disasters, lawsuits, and other unexpected costs.

Business Bank Account – Directly following registration is a good time to start a business bank account.

Web Properties – Secure a website domain name and any social media handles you will utilize to market and run your business. 

*If you’re looking to start a business elsewhere, check out our guides on how to register your business in the United States, New Zealand and Australia.


Disclaimer: The information provided in this website does not constitute legal, tax or accounting advice, but is designed to provide general information relating to business and commerce. The Small Business Advisors’ content, information products and services are not a substitute for obtaining the advice of a competent professional, for example a licensed attorney, law firm, accountant or financial adviser.